ADEN -- For peace to be restored to Yemen and the suffering of the Yemeni people to end, the efforts of the government -- now split in two, between Aden and Sanaa -- must be unified, officials and human rights activists said.
As one example of the challenge of having two centres of power, the first commercial flight out of Houthi-held Sanaa in six years was indefinitely postponed on April 24, stranding passengers travelling for medical care.
The national carrier, Yemenia, said it had not received permits from the Arab coalition, and Yemen's internationally recognised government, which is based in Aden, blamed the Iran-backed Houthis for the postponement.
United Nations (UN) special envoy Hans Grundberg voiced concern, and called on the warring parties to work with his office "to find a solution that allows the flights to resume as planned", AFP reported.
A renewable two-month truce that went into effect April 2 "is meant to benefit civilians including through reducing violence, making fuel available, and improving their freedom of movement to, from and within their country", he said.
The terms of the truce stipulated the opening of Sanaa airport and operation of two flights per week, and the opening of the ports in Taez province.
Minister of Information Muammar al-Eryani said the flight had been cancelled because the Houthis insisted that passengers holding passports issued in areas under their control be allowed to board the flight.
The flight had been slated to take off from Aden, stop off in Sanaa and transport passengers in need of medical treatment to the Jordanian capital, Amman.
The Aden government's approval of the operation of flights from Sanaa was contingent on the use of passports issued in areas controlled by the legitimate government, he said.
This was because there were fears that Houthi leaders, or members of Hizbullah or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), would be smuggled out of Yemen aboard these flights, he said.
Aden, Sanaa must work together
The Aden-based government "considers the issuance of passports a sovereign matter", political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.
But lost in the back-and-forth between the two sides are the patients, Yemeni civilians -- some of them elderly or in pain -- who are waiting to leave the country for treatment, he said.
Aden's insistence on compliance with its conditions, which is matched by Sanaa's insistence on imposing its own, "contributed to the failure of the steps that support the peace efforts", Ahmed said.
This unbending tenacity on both sides can be blamed for "the failure of the operation of the first flight from Sanaa airport and the holdup in the opening of the ports in Taez province", he added.
He warned that the split in ministries and their subordination to one government in Sanaa and another in Aden would exacerbate civilian suffering.
Ahmed said it behooved the two governments "to come up with appropriate temporary alternatives that alleviate the suffering of citizens and pave the way for finding peace and stopping the war".
Ultimately, he said, this will necessitate the formation of "a single government that takes care of the interests of citizens".
According to the Higher Relief Medical Committee in Sanaa, the number of patients registered to travel out of Sanaa airport has reached 35,000, and this number could increase.
"This magnifies the responsibility borne by the two governments towards these citizens to stop the war and establish peace," Ahmed said.
The Yemeni people suffer
The reasons preventing the achievement of peace in Yemen are that "all the political forces that have mortgaged Yemen abroad are living in a state of subservience", political analyst Adel al-Shujaa said.
No side has yet advocated a national project or declared its affiliation to Yemen and not to foreign parties, he said.
He pointed to the state of division in Yemen, with one government in Sanaa and another in Aden.
"The split of ministries between the two governments in Sanaa and Aden is a byproduct of the dependence on the countries of the region," he said.
"The Sanaa government's decision is in the hands of Iran, and the [legitimate] government's decision is in the hands of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), or the Arab coalition," he said.
Al-Shujaa said these parties have become an obstacle for citizens, as the multiplicity of ministries and their split between Sanaa and Aden "make each party seek to take control and impose conditions on the other party".
Meanwhile, he said, the Yemeni people bear the consequences of these actions.
A later gesture from the Arab coalition to release 163 Houthi prisoners was completed Friday (May 6), as part of efforts to end the seven-year war.
The prisoners were transported by air to Sanaa and Aden, in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Two Central Banks
The financial division is another stumbling block to the achievement of peace, said economist Abdul Aziz Thabet.
"The split of the Central Bank into two banks, one in Aden... and the other in Sanaa... has led to the suspension of public sector salaries," he said.
More than a million public sector employees have been affected by this state of affairs, which triggered "a change in economic policy and commercial dealings that led to financial and economic dysfunction", he added.
He said this can be seen through the wide variance in the exchange rate of the riyal between Aden and Sanaa, and the different prices of commodities.
Thabet called for "the unification of the bank as a step to unify the economic tools and disbursement of state employee salaries, which has been suspended for five years".
This is a crucial step that would "reduce the suffering of citizens and facilitate the process of economic integration as an entry point for the return of peace and the cessation of the war".